Stocks were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited U.S. data on oil inventories, while oil prices extended a rise to record highs, potentially straining consumer spending and corporate profits.
Texas Instruments Inc was one of the biggest drags on the S&P 500 index after the chip maker narrowed its target range for revenue in the third quarter on Tuesday. Expectations had been lifted by a string of chip makers and disk-drive makers that have raised their targets on higher demand.
A snapshot of U.S. oil inventories is due at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday and is expected to show a decline in crude supplies last week. U.S. crude for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to $78.78 a barrel, a record, on Wednesday.
We're having on-again, off-again concern about oil. Lacking other news, we're going to look at that because it factors into the consumer spending question, said Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, in Hinsdale, Illinois.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 24.14 points, or 0.18 percent, at 13,284.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.42 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,469.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.44 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,597.03.
Texas Instruments shares were down 1.6 percent to $35.15 on the NYSE. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange semiconductor index sagged 0.6 percent.
Biotechnology shares were extending Tuesday's rally as shares of Amgen rose 2.8 percent on Wednesday. UBS raised its recommendation on the biotechnology company, citing benign proceedings on Amgen's anemia drugs at the Food and Drug Administration.
On the downside, shares of Nucor Corp fell after the steelmaker said its third-quarter earnings continue to be significantly hurt by softness in the sheet markets and the increasing costs of some raw materials.
Nucor shares fell 1.5 percent to $52.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.
While the gains in oil futures were seen as a risk for the broader market, they were a boon for energy shares. Exxon Mobil was the top-weighted gainer on the S&P 500, up 0.9 percent to $87.72 on the NYSE.